“More Than Music,” New Era, Jan. 2009, 16–20
Grant Gibbons does not live in a quiet home. No, he doesn’t live next to an airport or a set of train tracks. Instead, he and his siblings make their own music all the time. The four siblings still living at home are constantly singing and playing the piano, guitar, trumpet, flute, and other instruments. In fact, Grant and his two older brothers, Guy and Michael, just released a new CD. Music is a big deal to 16-year-old Grant and the other members of his family, but serving the Lord is more important.
Everyone in Grant’s family is musical, and they love to perform, especially together. When Grant was a child, he saw how music about the Savior could touch others’ lives. “The very first time we were asked to perform as a family was for the Church,” says Lucie, Grant’s mom. “We did our first show on Temple Square, in Salt Lake City, and had a very spiritual experience. A man came off the street who had never heard of Jesus Christ. A sister missionary, who was acting as a hostess, took our children aside and said, ‘This man was introduced to Jesus Christ by you kids.’”
Lucie says that from that point on, Grant and his siblings were hooked on touching other peoples’ lives through gospel music. But they certainly aren’t the first ones in their family to be devoted to music.
Grant comes from a long line of musicians. His grandfathers on both sides of his family were music educators and music store owners. His mom, Lucie, has a father who focused his career on band and choir. Grant’s dad, Barry, has a father who spent many years performing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And together Lucie and Barry own a recording studio in Utah where many of their family’s albums have been created. So it was no surprise that Grant, who is the fifth out of seven musical siblings, would also be gifted with music.
Grant’s musical talent started to show when he was only five years old. Because his four older siblings would play the piano and sing all the time, he decided that he wanted to join in the fun. Although Grant was only in kindergarten and could not yet read music, he says, “I started playing the piano by ear and would pick out melodies on the piano.”
Michael, his brother, adds, “One thing Grant is good at is that he can listen to a difficult piece of music and be able to pick out all the parts on the piano.”
Not only does Grant play the piano, but he also plays the trumpet and the flügelhorn, and, of course, he sings. Such a wide variety of talent was great to have when Grant, Guy, and Michael started to record their first CD. The three brothers had dreamed of making a CD but waited until Michael returned from his mission in Geneva, Switzerland, to start.
Michael says that before he served a mission there was never a temptation to stay home and record music. “I received assurance through prayer that my mission call was going to be right for me,” Michael says. “When I got my call, I knew it was what the Lord wanted for me.”
When he got home two years later, the three boys worked together, using their vocal and instrumental talents to produce a CD. Their goal in releasing it, Michael says, was to give youth and young adults “safe, appropriate, and upbeat music to listen to.” But the brothers will have to put future goals of making another CD on hold for a couple of years because Guy Richey, who goes by both his first and middle names, recently left to serve a full-time mission in Toulouse, France. In this family of musicians, serving the Lord is more important than music.
“Even if we had a top record in America right now, we would still go and serve the Lord. We know that serving is the most important thing,” Michael says.
Making the mission a priority is an example to Grant, who says that his brothers and dad have paved the way for him. Grant wants to serve a mission, too. “Michael’s decision process to go on a mission started with our father, who went on a mission. We look up to our father so much. He’s such a great example to us that we have all felt that going on missions was the right thing to do,” Grant says.
Michael gives Grant his best advice for serving a mission: “Go out with a smile every day and talk to as many people as you can. Be selfless and bring joy into other peoples’ lives. If you’re concerned about other peoples’ needs, the stresses and sacrifices of serving a mission will not be a big deal.”
In three years, when it comes time to serve a mission, Grant will have no doubt that giving up his musical career for two years to serve the Lord is the right thing to do. He is already preparing for that by following the Holy Ghost and building his testimony.
Although Grant can play by ear a song he hears on the radio, he’s also working on training something else—his spiritual ear. “When I feel spiritual promptings, I follow them,” Grant says. “Because I follow them, I’m able to recognize those promptings easier. I try to be better at listening to the Spirit.”
And why does he want to follow the Spirit? Because Grant has a testimony of the gospel. “Ever since I was little, my parents have taught us about the gospel,” he says. “The more I learn about it, the more I know it’s true. My testimony is always strengthened when I’m trying to live more like Christ.”
One way that Grant is able to live the gospel is by listening to good, wholesome music. When asked what advice he would give to teens who struggle with inappropriate music, he answers, “Just know that inappropriate music is what Satan wants you to listen to, and it doesn’t please Heavenly Father when we don’t listen to uplifting things. We don’t always have to listen to Church music, but it has to bring a good spirit.”
Michael agrees. “Music is so spiritual, and it’s so connected to our soul that when we listen to music that is destructive, uses bad language, or even has a feeling that is inappropriate, we know that it’s the wrong music to listen to,” he says. “Finding music that makes your soul and spirit feel good is very important.”
Grant’s mom, Lucie, says that good music is always playing in their home, and that creates a loving atmosphere. “It’s never quiet in our home; somebody is always singing or playing the piano,” she says. As if on cue, the family sings “Love at Home” (Hymns, no. 294) in perfect harmony. No, it is never quiet in the Gibbons’ home, but a spirit of love resides there. Music is a big deal to Grant and his family, but serving the Lord always comes first.